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Induction | Self-Employment Guide With Atrium.

Induction | Self-Employment Guide With Atrium

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Policy and Key Information

Getting ready to start with Atrium

Most practitioners join Atrium as self – employed practitioners. There are several important factors to consider when you enter the world of the self- employed and we are offering this advice before you start with us. We hope you find the following notes helpful and informative. Many of our practitioners combine face to face work in coaching and counselling with online work in our individual support and workplace pathways.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

You are required by law to register your self- employment status with HMRC. You will need to inform HMRC of all your self-employed income over each given tax year. For example, the last tax year was 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, all earnings for this period will be subject to tax and, you, as a self-employed person, will have the choice of either completing a paper Tax Return and submitting it by 31 October 2021 (if you have earned income in this tax year), or alternatively, completing the Tax Return online and submitting it by 31 January 2022.

It is therefore very useful to have all the Invoices and Receipts related to your income and expenditure filed in one place for ease of process. Setting up a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is an easy way of tracking and collating this process.

Please refer to the HMRC website for registration and accounting information:

Self-Employed National Insurance Rates

Most people pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance through Self-Assessment. Class 2 is paid if your profits are £6,475 or more a year; Class 4 if your profits are £9,501 or more. You must tell HMRC when you become self-employed as a sole trader or partnership.

For further information please search online for Self-employed National Insurance rates – GOV.UK

Indemnity Insurance

One of the biggest providers of Professional Indemnity Insurance is Towergate Insurance. Their specialist professional liability policy includes essential cover for Professional indemnity, Public liability, Product liability, Libel and Slander. They offer a preferential rate to BACP members. You can call them on 0330 123 5128 or email them at

There are several other Professional Liability Insurance providers whose details are available on the Internet. Do ask other colleagues in our community of practice who they use. Importantly, when you work with Atrium you are agreeing to deliver services within your professional ability as an independent practitioner within our Atrium framework. If you are working in the prison setting for example, you have access to Atrium services management and clinical supervision and your work will need to align to the processes and guidance issued in your site but you will be held to account through your own indemnity arrangements in the event of legal action. In short, if you come to harm in this setting or others with whom you are working, you will settle your own claim with your insurers.

Working Online – What you need to consider.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) recently published very useful information for therapists who are working online or are considering going down this route. Some important factors they reviewed are noted for your attention.


At Atrium, we coordinate referrals for suitability and discuss cases with individual therapists. There will also be information on the client in the CORE Net record. However, the practitioner always needs to be aware of potential safeguarding issues with working online. If you are working with a client who has relationship issues, particularly if they involve another family member who may now be in close proximity during your sessions, you may find the client reluctant to talk openly for fear of being overheard. It is good to discuss the barriers of the environment at the start of the work. Are there any factors which impact how safe you feel or who else is likely to be in the home when we are having our sessions? It is unlikely that you will be asked to work with trauma unless you have specific training in this area and are used to working online with trauma. If the situation arises, you will be well prepared by Atrium to do the work. Your clinical supervisor and peer groups will support you to address dilemmas in the work and manage your wellbeing.

The Right Connection and the Right Phone Package

There are practical considerations, such as whether your Internet connection at home is fast enough to support uninterrupted work, and whether what you are offering would be therapeutic if, for example, during the session, your connection freezes or breaks up. If your broadband speed is not suitable, could you upgrade your package? The Atrium office will ask clients to check that their internet speed is suitable for online work. However, problems happen and you might have to complete a session from time to time by telephone. Have you got a telephone package that lets you make free calls in the day or can you use your mobile phone with the number hidden? Are you monitoring your calls to ensure that you are still on the best package? If you do call the client back, you must use 141 from a landline or mobile so your phone number is not revealed. We will consider your reasonable expenses for this in the unlikely event that it is needed.

Atrium requests our practitioners to use Zoom, available for download at ( It is free for one to one work or costs about £14.99 per month if you need to do group work over 45 minutes. For Atrium purposes the basic package is probably enough and for group meetings there is no problem if you join in audio for the last 15 minutes. After you have finished and closed down the session, it’s gone and can’t be accessed again, which makes it more secure than Skype, where your past calls and who you have spoken to are visible. Although Zoom doesn’t guarantee100% confidentiality, it is a platform that clients are comfortable with and many practitioners are using, enhancing security by using the ‘require password to join’ feature.

We request that our Atrium practitioners set up with an Atrium email account typically to ensure boundaries in the work are maintained. You can communicate with colleagues on the same emails and it eases communication. We will never send specific and personal data which can be identifiable over this email. Many of our practitioners engaged in face to face work also have NHS emails which are more secure.

All devices used for online work should be password protected and must have up-to- date antivirus software installed. Anyone keeping their own electronic client system needs to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ( to be GDPR compliant. If you are using the Atrium patient/client system for all your work, then you will not need to register separately with ICO as we are registered and communication comes through the Atrium office. You should also check with your insurance provider that your online work is covered.


Working online requires all practitioners to ensure that the space in which they work will not be interrupted during a session or that other members of the household are not able to hear what is being shared in the room; thus ensuring that the client feels they are working in a confidential environment. You may consider pinning a notice on the door when a session is in progress. You may also need to be aware of where in the house the incoming voice can be heard and whether you need to use headphones. Microphones pick up background noise – will your client hear activity in your household that may amount to self-disclosure, such as the sound of children playing? If this is unavoidable, it may be wise to pre-empt the situation and discuss the possibility with your client, and what it may mean to them to hear your family in the background.

Similarly, clients need to ensure they won’t be overheard. If they can’t guarantee this but want to go ahead with the sessions, then expect a change to the depth of the sessions, and ensure you are led by the client about what they are comfortable talking about.


All practitioners in Atrium attend clinical supervision in one to one sessions, peer supervisions and learning community attendance is expected in your own time. Therapists must ensure they are fully supported in their work by arranging regular supervision sessions and, if necessary, working collaboratively with their supervisors to get any additional support they may need to engage with their work. You may also want to share knowledge and experience with your peers as working online can be an isolating experience without other therapists around to share any clinical concerns you may have.

Ongoing Training

Online training could be helpful but you might find discussion and practice with peers more helpful. Online counselling and coaching rapidly becomes second nature. These resources are helpful.

For information on the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO) competences for online work and a list of training courses that meet the competences, see

Notes and questions for your supervisor?

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Atrium Clinic
642 London Road

Telephone: 01702-332857

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